Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|King Kong Lives|
Actors: John Ashton, Jeff Benninghofen, Marc Clement, Bonnie Cook, Lou Criscuolo
Genres: Action & Adventure
Studio: Peace Arch Home Entertain Release Date: 11/07/2006 Run time: 115 minutes Rating: Pg13
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Two men in ape suits 'feel like making love...'
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/08/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I like watching all kinds of films, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with the belief that some redemptive value, a nugget of joy if you will, can be found, but sometimes I have to look very hard (the musical score was passable, albeit repetitive). I will say that I've seen King Kong Lives (1986) a while ago, so I knew the cinematic pain trip I was preparing to embark on prior to plugging this DVD into my player, but that didn't mean the experience was any less hurty...
Directed by John Guillermin (not surprisingly his last film, especially after his previous disastrous outings including the 1976 King Kong remake and 1984's flopfest Sheena), the film stars Linda Hamilton (2 years after her role in Cameron's sci-fi thriller The Terminator...after this film, her star quality plummeted, forcing her to work in television for the next four years). Although she was obviously the star in this film, she didn't even get top billing as the credits rolled...that went to the two male actors in the monkey suits. Also appearing are Brian Kerwin (Murphy's Romance), whose career seems to have yet fully recover from his role in this sequel to a film that should have never been made. and John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop I & II).
As the film begins, we're treated to a recap of the final scenes of the '76 Kong film, where a man in the giant ape suit plummets to his death from atop the World Trade Towers, after being riddled with bullets...but wait! After this rehash is concluded, fast forward ten years and we learn that Kong didn't perish, but was secured away at some institute in Georgia resting comfortably in a comatose state...oh bruther...also, Kong is in need of a heart transplant, as the visage of a giant, artificial heart is shown suspended by a crane (who the heck is financing this endeavor, and why?) Problem is, before Dr. Amy Franklin (Hamilton) can perform the operation (remember that Seinfeld episode where George hit the squirrel, and his girlfriend made him take it to the vet, and the vet said they needed special, tiny tools to operate? Well here they need the really big, honking tools...), they need a compatible blood donor. Well, it's a good thing entrepreneur Hank Mitchell (Kerwin) conveniently just happened to find a equally large Queen Kong (how do we it's female? She has giant monkey breasts, of course...kill me now) in the jungles of Borneo, and was able to come to terms with institute with regards to price (surprisingly, a bunch of natives were able to take the creature down with blowguns, and yet the U.S. military, as we'll later see, is unable to stop and equally sized Kong with a barrage of bullets and artillery fire...whatever). So the female Kong is brought to the institute, despite Amy's misgivings (she feels a female Kong will drive the male nutty coco puffs, hindering his recovery) and the operation is a success, only Kong escapes, hooks up with the female Kong, and both run off into the Georgia mountains (to a place called Honeymoon Ridge...I'm serious, kill me NOW) where they consummate their burgeoning relationship as only two guys in monkey suits can...ewwwwww. Now with the military, lead by the gung-ho Col. Nevitt (Ashton) hot on their giant, hairy heels, Amy and Hank (who have since become romantically involved, mirroring the relationship between King and Queen Kong) have their work cut out for them, in trying to save this gruesome twosome.
I think most of us are familiar with the fact that sequels rarely live up to their predecessors, and this film is no exception. After De Laurentiis' remake (more aptly bastardization) of the original film, King Kong Lives was the equivalent of rubbing a heaping pile of salt into a gaping wound. There's really nowhere near enough room to talk about how much was wrong with this film. The story is so utterly ridiculous that even a child's capabilities of suspending disbelief would be strained. I mean, right in the beginning we're asked to believe Kong actually survived being torn apart by gatling guns mounted on helicopters, and then falling from the World Trade Towers...and now someone has decided to give him a heart transplant? And the moronic concepts just keep flowing, and at an exponential rate. The characters are completely insipid, lacking any credible or meaningful substance, spouting the most laughable, ludicrous dialogue I've heard in a long time. Here's an example as Amy relates Kong's physical state, "Only one things can save Kong.", "What's that?", "A miracle!" In another scene Hank arrives from the jungles with the female Kong and reporters ask "Are you going to breed her?", to which Hank replies "You mean personally?" The ingratiating attempts at humor matched the pathetic attempts creating a sense of pathos throughout the film, the latter being something that the original 1933 film had in spades, and flowed forth so very naturally. It looked like some serious money was spent on this film, although much of it spent on effects appears to have been wasted as giant ape special effects seemed not to have progressed much in the 10 years since the first film. Also, the ape perspective was so very screwy...one moment the apes seemed 100 feet tall, and another they appeared 50 feet tall...very disorientating. Despite all these things (and much more), I probably could have survived this film better if it wasn't for the overly obvious attempted anthropomorphizing, or `humanization', of the apes (smiling, kissing, mating...did I mention it was two guys in ape suits? Ewwwwww).
I was surprised to see a fairly pristine wide screen print on this DVD (heck, I was surprised to see the film released to DVD), along with clear, clean audio. There are no special features, but I wasn't looking for any. For those who say `This movie isn't as bad as they say', it is, and much, much worse...
Tried to enjoy it, but.....
A. C. Cronvich | Planet Zeist | 05/14/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film the day it opened in 1986, and I still haven't recovered.
It is just so dissapointing and innexcusable how bad this movie is.
That said, let me move on and state that it has grown on me in recent years. But only after over a decade of staying away from it. I enjoyed SON OF KONG, KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, KING KONG ESCAPES
and the 1976 remake (especially the "lost" four hour TV version) and I felt that, despite shortcomings, they were true to the spirit of the original.
This is the exception. KING KONG LIVES is a direct sequel to the 76
version and starts with a replay of Kong's battle atop, and eventual fall from, the World Trade Center in New York. In hind sight this is really
a hiderence to the film, as I believe it would play better (especially today) without the baggage of the last movie attached to it. A tactic that worked with KING KONG VS. GODZILLA and KING KONG ESCAPES.
But, because of Kong's Injuries, we are forced to sit through a laughably silly giant artificial heart transplant, which plays like something out of a Bert I. Gordon movie. And then faced with the unbelievability of Kong's
absurdly fast recovery from a 10 year coma. There are a few memerable sequences that are impressive. Such as Kong's heroic rescues of his
mate, the pumelling of some seedy hunters and a climactic battle in which Kong throws some attacking tanks and jeeps around. But, the scene in which Kong hides out in a swamp and eats dime-store rubber
alligators will have you roaring. Also silly is a scene where Kong eludes his militant pursuers by jumping from a seemingly thousand foot rock cliff into a deep river and dissapears under water. This movie takes place in Louisiana! There aren't any giant canyons or rivers deep enough to hide sixty foot ape in the American south. But of course, this film was produced by italians and directed by a brit. The characters are
unmemorable and there is the usual love interest. The antagonists are cartoonish and often cruel for no logical reason. We are supposed to believe that the government would spend ten years and billions of dollars in keeping Kong and his mate alive and then, on a dime,
torment, torture and kill them with military hardware. It just makes no sense. This all could have been enjoyable were it not for the boring characters and corney plot twists. The ending is perhaps one of the biggest let downs in cinema history. I was also deeply dissapointed, at the time at least, that the incredible John Barry musical score from the previous film was not used here. But I will admit that the score used in King Kong Lives is quite impressive, and emotionally stirring, even if the movie falls flat.
In conclusion. Awful on the big screen in 1986, Not nearly so bad on a TV set 20 years later. Is there a fan edited version yet? A good re-editing/shortening could save the life of King Kong Lives."
How this film was pitched
joseph Corey | Raleigh, NC United States | 10/08/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"True story: this guy goes into Dino's office to pitch a few ideas for films. Dino seems completely unimpressed by them. As a last ditch effort for a sale he proposes a sequel to King Kong.
"But the monkey died at the end of the film. How can you make a sequel?" Dino asks.
"They give Kong an artificial heart!"
Dino's eyes light up and he makes a deal for the screenwriter to write it. The screenwriter goes home happy that he made a sale and clueless what to do for a story. And it shows."
Fun and funny sequel
Marcus X | 01/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"King Kong Lives is a classic "bad" movie that is worth watching over and over. It's well worth owning and I'm very happy it's on DVD since my VHS copy is completely worn out from being watched many many times. This is one fun flick! Just don't take it seriously. Perfect when you want a blast of highly entertaining cheese!"